Website updates are an integral part of any long-term digital marketing plan, but how often should you update your website and how do you know it’s time? Updating your website affords numerous advantages such as enhanced security, keeping your content relevant, and ensuring your website design is fresh. It can also offer you the chance to fix any mistakes that may be costing you visitors, or worse, potential customers. These issues might include blog pages without content, having too many navigational menu options, incorrect or missing contact information, or having no call to action.
The answer to when you should update your website differs tremendously among the digital marketing firms of the world, so you won’t find a definitive answer. Some individual will tell you that you should update your website every two years and some say at least every five. Just as in business if you notice a problem with your website, then it should address it as soon as possible, lest it fester and cause more serious damage down the road.
At this point, we should probably differentiate between updating your website and making a major redesign or overhaul. Updating your website is any change that improves the readability or performance of a website, while redesigns involve creating a whole new design with new copy and new content. Nearly every website in existence needs to have a major overhaul at least every 5 years to catch up with modern advances in design and to stay in step with competitors.
Regular Updates on Your Website
Creating a website begins with having a plan in place surrounding what you want your website to achieve. Gone are the days where websites for businesses are simply a brochure of services and contact information. Your website gives customers and fans of your brand the opportunity to interact with the business in ways never before conceived….so don’t let them down. With the main goal of your website in mind, you can be more aware if something isn’t working properly. Planning regular audits of your website will help apply preventative maintenance principles to your site and identify problems early and often. At least once every 1-2 months you should audit your website to identify any problems such as broken links, duplicate content, slow loading time, or too much unused space, pop up ads, or on-screen advertising. Odds are, that you’ll notice these action items rather easily. Where you’ll need help from more sophisticated tools are issues such as finding out how to optimize your content’s SEO, decreasing your load time, and knowing what keywords to use to boost your search engine rankings.
Alec Baldwin said it best in Glen Gary, Glen Ross when he mentioned, “ABU=A: Always B: Be U: Updating; ALWAYS be updating!” Alright, so “updating” isn’t the exact term he used, but if he had been talking to a room full of business owners, and also happened to be discussing when to update your site, we’re positive that’s how it would have worked out. The point is that you should always be updating your site.
The more you update your website with content, the better chance you have of increasing your website’s search engine ranking and being noticed. A blog on your company site is an excellent SEO tactic that can help increase website traffic and equally important, will give the opportunity to connect with your readers. By consistently updating your blog page, you are giving potential clients a reason to return to your website.
Search engines do not read your website copy the same way your readers do, but it’s important to write for both in mind, which can be a difficult, time consuming, and thoroughly confusing practice. As a human, you want to be mindful of websites that have too much information or writing. The average website user just isn’t interested in reading Les Miserables on your homepage. While it’s perfectly acceptable to have additional, copy-heavy pages elsewhere, you want to keep your home page information concise, to the point, and customer-centric.
Alternatively, when considering how “bots” or search engines read your website copy, the first item to adjust immediately is overuse of specific keywords in your copy. Your website’s main keywords should appear any single page around fifteen times. If you use a keyword more than that, major search engines can flag the page for “keyword stuffing” and penalize you, hurting your site’s ability to appear on page 1 of searches. Another issue you want to correct on your website is duplicate pages or content. Not only is duplicate content annoying to readers, but it also hurts the search engine optimization of your site.
When Does My Website Need a Massive Overhaul?
Now that we have established you should update content as often as possible, let’s turn our attention to the more serious topic of how to identify that your website needs a much larger change or even a full website redesign. While how often you completely redesign your website depends on your target audience and budget, you should look into a redesign at least every 2-3 years, as advances in web programming technology progress quickly. Here are a few standards that will tell you that you absolutely must update your website as soon as possible:
Website isn’t Responsive
Mobile internet users outpaced desktop users in 2014 and that gap continues to widen. In 2020, over 90% of global internet users used a mobile phone to access the internet. Moreover, mobile is also the primary way individuals access the internet during the peak hours of internet usage. If your website can’t isn’t accessible on every platform: mobile, tablet, laptop, and desktop, address this issue immediately as you are certainly losing customer traffic.
Website has No Social
No modern website can realize its full potential without social media tying into it. The two complement each other so well that if your current website doesn’t have links to your social pages, add them post haste or you risk losing out on capturing new users. No social media pages? A large sampling of companies think that their business can’t benefit from having a social media presence, but any company can benefit from having a new line of communication with clients, an extra way to bolster your brand image, and as an easy means of continuing conversations.
Website has Outdated Look or Feel
Remember hit counters? How about flash animations? Or the dreaded auto sound? Odds are, your website isn’t as horrible as any of the websites from hell, but the point here is that tastes in website design change over time and increasingly more rapidly. Consequently, if you haven’t redesigned the look and feel of your website in the last three years, there’s a strong likelihood it’s not using the latest, modern design trends. By redesigning your website to include new breakthroughs such as drop shadows & depth, grid layouts, and dynamic gradients, you’ll have a website you’ll be proud to show off to new customers.
Additionally, updating your site often has a number of other advantages, including improved integration with other software services, reduces security threats from hackers, allows for easier updates to your site, and, when done correctly, can present your website in a more visually appealing manner to your clients.
Why Hire Digital Marketing Firm to Update Your Website?
Hiring a dedicated digital marketing firm, removes the burden of preventative maintenance duties to your website from your shoulders, and can offer an enormous return on your investment. Not only will a digital marketing company analyze and audit your website more often, but we tend to obsess over our client’s website just as a babysitter would ensure extra special care of your child. Furthermore, an experienced digital marketing firm will have specialists in several core areas that are crucial to keeping your website up-to-date such as copy writing, pay-per-click (PPC) and social advertising, graphic design, web UI/UX design, Google Analytics, and social media and brand management.